Preview: Battle for the Bridge 5k will raise funds for Cystic Fibrosis research

Sofia Giammanco, adorable little girl who is living with Cystic Fibrosis. Provided photo.

This sweet face is Sofia Giammanco, a little girl who is living with Cystic Fibrosis. Her photo is included in this post because there's a race scheduled for June 18th which will help her in her fight against that disease: the Battle for the Bridge 5k will contribute 100% of race proceeds to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Her mom, Sara Giammanco, is a big supporter of the Battle for the Bridge and of Cystic Fibrosis research. She explains what it's like to have a child with a life-threatening disease: "It means I know every day is a gift. Will this be the day that she starts to show signs of her disease like the doctors have told us for years? Or will she continue to thrive and be an amazingly healthy young girl? These questions are difficult because we have no answers! We work hard everyday to keep her healthy and I pray every night for a miracle. I believe I was meant to be Sophia's mom and she is the reason I am who I am. I will fight for her forever, she is my heart."

The race will be held at Mary S. Young Park in West Linn, and makes use of nearly all the trails in that fine park. It’s called the “Battle for the Bridge” because alumni from Oregon City HS and West Linn HS have selected it as a special challenge, but anyone and everyone is invited to sign up. The start/finish area is near the main parking loop next to the dog park, in the same place as the start for ORRC’s Up the Lazy River 10k scheduled for Memorial Day. This race, however, is a 5k and makes two loops within the park itself. Not only will it be a fun race, it’s a great chance to explore the park without fear of getting lost – then you can return for training runs! The park does have “real” bathrooms, and there is an overflow parking area as well.

Here are the race details:

When: Saturday, June 18, 2016

What time: The race starts at 9a

Where: Mary S. Young Park at 19900 Willamette Drive in West Linn

Register: Online here through June 17 for $30. This race will be chip-timed by Uberthons. Students and alumni of Oregon City HS or West Linn HS can register for $25 and children 10 and younger can sign up for only $15. You can also sign up day of race starting at 7:30a.

When I was little, I read this book called “Alex: The Life of a Child.” This would have been around 1990, and I still remember passages from it, and the cover showing an effervescent little girl with a huge smile, quite vividly. Alex DeFord was a little girl with cystic fibrosis, and the book detailed what she went through, including treatments that sounded awful. The book was written by her father, NPR sports contributor Frank DeFord, and was made into a movie in the early 80’s. I know that treatments have vastly improved since then, but what stuck with me was how horrible Cystic Fibrosis is, even more so because it touches children and their families. The race website explains the disease:

“Cystic fibrosis is a life-threatening, genetic disease that causes persistent lung infections and progressively limits the ability to breathe. In people with CF, a defective gene causes a thick, buildup of mucus in the lungs, pancreas and other organs. In the lungs, the mucus clogs the airways and traps bacteria leading to infections, extensive lung damage and eventually, respiratory failure. In the pancreas, the mucus prevents the release of digestive enzymes that allow the body to break down food and absorb vital nutrients.  Lung disease eventually worsens to the point where the person is disabled. Today, the average life span for people with CF who live to adulthood is about 37 years. Death is most often caused by lung complications.”

If you want to get more involved in the planning of the Battle of the Bridge and other fundraising efforts to benefit Cystic Fibrosis, read the background of the race and learn about their many activities held throughout the year.  Special thanks to Battle for the Bridge Chair David Norman for sharing this information with Run Oregon.

All participants will receive this special Challenge Coin from the race.

About Kelly Barten (1151 Articles)
I started the Run Oregon blog in February 2007, because I felt like running in Oregon and SW Washington deserved more positive coverage. I also wanted to level the playing field so that small, non-profit races could compete with big events; and to support LOCAL race organizers. I'm a Creighton Bluejay (undergrad) and an Oregon Duck (Sports Marketing MBA), and I live in Tigard with my husband and two kids. My "real job" is working for an incredibly awesome math textbook company doing marketing and production.
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